Impact Basketball Rumors
Bennett spent his summer at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, training twice a day with NBA players like New York’s Kyle O’Quinn and Philadelphia’s Amir Johnson. He was looking for a chance in the NBA. “I was trying to go to the Suns,” Bennett explained. “There was just a whole bunch of injuries at the wrong time. I felt nice with hard work during the summer. I felt like I was ready to go but just at the time everything just kind of hit me. It was my back, my ankle, just a lot of things I couldn’t really push through.”
To the fans that make up James’s 33.4 million followers on Instagram, the workout video is a curiosity—another window into how one of the world’s greatest athletes tunes up his body “in the lab.” But for basketball players, the video serves as a moment of realization. “What happens now is a guy loses 15 pounds and he posts it on social media,” says Joe Abunassar, a longtime NBA trainer and the founder and president of Impact Basketball. “It’s not hard to convince an NBA guy to do something when the best guys in the league are doing it.”
Oh, to be clear, I’m not talking about the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors battling in the NBA Finals. I’m, of course, referring to Lue’s dominant 2010 pick-up squad that is the stuff of legend at Las Vegas’ Impact Basketball – where many NBA stars have trained over the years. Back when Lue was still playing, he was the captain of a five-man squad that also featured Alan Anderson, Jared Dudley, Tayshaun Prince and Patrick O’Bryant. This team managed to win every seven-game series during Impact’s open run for three straight weeks – meaning they were king of the court for a significant portion of the offseason.
So how did Lue, Anderson, Dudley, Prince and O’Bryant manage to beat talented squad after talented squad (some of which were assembled with the sole purpose of beating them in mind)? One Impact staffer explained why the underdog squad was so good: “Alan Anderson was pissed off that he wasn’t in the NBA yet, so he would score lights out and always played with a chip on his shoulder. He wanted to show he belonged. Ty Lue ran the pick-and-roll to perfection. Jared Dudley always made the smart play and was shooting really well. Tayshaun Prince was probably their best all-around player. Overall, they were a really smart team; their basketball IQ was excellent. Even though it was a pick-up game, they played excellent help-side defense. They would double-team and frustrate the other team so much. For a while, they couldn’t lose.”
Kyle Lowry has been working with Joe Abunassar, the founder of Impact Basketball, since 2008. At 29 and coming off a season in which his production tailed off after the all-star break, Lowry wanted to play lighter. “It’s no different than if a 40-year-old said, ‘I’d like to lose weight,’” Abunassar says. Except that this is Kyle Lowry. Two days a week, training started at 6:30 a.m. at the bottom of a hill, which Lowry repeatedly ran up in minute-long bursts. He worked out on-court twice a day and finished with weights or extreme Pilates. Lowry rode his bike to and from workouts, and off-days didn’t exist. “We say ‘off,’ and it’s getting a 30-minute sweat in,” Abunassar says. “We couldn’t kill him the whole summer.”
Meals weren’t what you’d call enjoyable, either. They involved egg whites, lean meat, a lot of kale and many a salad, and excluded dessert, butter and oils. Abunassar wasn’t by Lowry’s side 24 hours a day, but he’s confident Lowry didn’t eat cookies or ice cream all summer: “He didn’t want that stuff.” Abunassar is happy to see that Lowry—now weighing in at a little more than 190 lb.—has everyone talking. “It was pretty sweet to see a guy at that age really bring his whole body together,” he says. “It’s an inspiration for anyone trying to get their body together, basketball player or not.”
The free agent workouts will include drills and five-on-five. Other notable free agents such as Josh Howard, Christian Eyenga and Rasual Butler will also be participating in the pro-day, which will be held at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas.